(Reuters) - Reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep will play in the inaugural Adelaide International ahead of next year’s Australian Open, organisers said on Friday.
Adelaide International, a combined ATP and WTA event, replaces the Sydney International which was dropped from the tennis calendar to make room for the ATP Cup men’s team event.
Tennis Australia announced in January that Sydney would host the knockout rounds and final of the ATP Cup, with Brisbane and Perth also hosting earlier rounds and Adelaide missing out.
World number four Halep said the decision to play in the first WTA event in South Australia, which will be held at the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre from Jan. 12-18, had been made easier by her fondness for the city.
“When I heard about the tournament for the first time, I said that I was going to play for sure,” the Romanian said.
“I want to go back to Adelaide because I like it so much. I have only great memories of my time there. The people are very relaxed and they make you feel very relaxed as well.”
The new tournament has a prize pot of A$2 million ($1.36 million).
The Australian Open, the year’s first grand slam, will take place at Melbourne Park from Jan. 20-Feb 2.
($1 = 1.4684 Australian dollars)
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney